After sleeping in a converted NYC taxi, I have a new respect for the young professionals living in vans to save money
Housing can be a major money suck. Take San Francisco, where the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $ 3,500 a month. Prices in my home base, New York City, are just as egregious: $ 3,300 for a one-bed.
A handful of professionals seem to have figured out a creative solution to this real-estate conundrum: Rather than settling into overpriced apartments, they’re moving into vans, sailboats, and tiny homes. They seem to be onto something brilliant — besides saving up to 90% of their income, living tiny means a less cluttered (and more minimalist) lifestyle, an alluring prospect in today’s fast-paced world.
It looks brilliant on paper — from a safe distance — but I wanted to know what it’s really like to make a lifestyle change of this magnitude. So I moved into a van. Specifically, a taxicab converted into a “rolling room,” which I found on Airbnb for $ 50 a night ($ 39 plus the cleaning and service fees).
I only spent two nights “living tiny” before I happily moved back into my overpriced Manhattan apartment — but two nights was more than enough time to answer all of my questions.
Here’s how it went and what I learned:
SEE ALSO: From living in a van to commuting 700 miles: 12 people who go to extreme measures to save money on housing
I knew that my level of preparation could make or break the experience, so I packed diligently — yet lightly. I made sure that each item I brought would serve a specific purpose. Among the things that made the cut were: work clothes, a few toiletries, two washcloths, an extra blanket, portable speakers, a laptop, a book, and melatonin to help me sleep.
Two last-minute additions — toilet paper and hand sanitizer — were game-changers. We (I brought my roommate along) also bought two bottles of water on the way, which we figured we would use to brush our teeth and wash our faces.
We made the easy commute from Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens, where we found our home for the next two nights parked on this dead-end street.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider